Character of Jesus 65

The Character of Jesus 65

Zacchaeus

(Luke 19:1 – 27)

  • Characteristic: Expecting a positive result
    • (1 – 4)  Jericho was a border crossing, so collecting customs duties was big business.  Also, Herod the Great had built many fine public structures.  So, the city was known for its wealth.  This is the first (and last) time Jesus went to Jerusalem with a crowd.
    • (5)  This is the only recorded instance of Jesus inviting Himself to dinner.  Whether Jesus knew Zacchaeus’ thinking or just surmised from the fact that he was in a tree is not given. Either way, Jesus expected a positive result.  Plus, He immediately pressed Zacchaeus into a serving job.  Note:  Jesus already had one tax collector among the twelve (Matthew: Matthew 9:9–13, Mark 2:13–17 and Luke 5:27–28)
    • (6 – 10)  Zacchaeus’ response was enthusiastic.
      • The on-lookers objected to Jesus’ proposed association with Zacchaeus because he was a tax collector, and therefore presumed to be a traitor to the nation and corrupt in his dealings.
      • Zacchaeus proposed to give away half his wealth.  He was not reporting his habit.  The restitution offer was similar to the Law in Exodus 22:1 – 15.
      • Jesus had stated previously that He was sent to the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 15:24, 18:11).  Jesus expressed the salvation came to Zacchaeus’ house because of faith, not through behavior as most rabbis taught.
      • Jesus stated His mission, to seek and save the lost, contrary to the expectation of the crowds that He came to establish an kingdom on earth.
    • The parable must relate to both Zacchaeus and the crowd.  The nobleman is Jesus.  Those who were entrusted with investments are the servants of God.  The citizens who did not want the nobleman to rule as their king are the Jews.  The far country are the Gentiles.  Zacchaeus would be one of the servants entrusted with money.
      • The points of the parable were:
        • Even those who serve the Master are required to be productive.
        • Those who refuse to acknowledge the position of the Master will die.
      • (13)  The mina was worth about three months’ wages.  Ten servants were given funds, but the results of only three are reported.
      • Note that the first two servants expressed their success as, “Your minas made this many more.”  They did not mention their own skill at investment.
  • Application:  Expecting a positive result
    • When those of poor reputation show interest in the gospel, does the church immediately put them to work?
    • Do churches expect those who come to volunteer to do good and make the past right?
    • Do some view Jesus as an undesirable leader?
    • Do some view Jesus as a harsh taskmaster who would punish those whose service is small or defective??
    • Do church folks recognize that God’s investment was the cause of their success?
    • If Jesus (and churches) did not have an expectation of positive results, where would the church be?